From June 8th-20th, 2017, adventurers from Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and the USA joined SAVE THE FROGS! for the 2nd Annual SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour. From frog-watching in the Amazon Basin to hiking in the Andes, our group was overcome by the remarkable biodiversity of Ecuador. The ecotour was simply wonderful and truly an amphibian extravaganza! Our group observed 37 species of frogs and toads, 3 species of salamanders and 2 species of caecilians! We trekked through rainforests, hiked up mountains, swam in beautiful waterfall pools and took in the magnificent nature of Ecuador. We experienced the culture and traditions of indigenous groups and they honored us with their incredible knowledge of the rainforest. We ate fabulous food, made new friendships and integrated with people of different cultures, spreading amphibian awareness as we traveled. United by a love of frogs and an appreciation of nature, our participants left Ecuador feeling inspired and connected with the natural world. Every SAVE THE FROGS! ecotour is wonderful, but this trip was truly special.

“I can honestly say it was the best trip of my life (and I've travelled a lot!)”
- Melissa Steele-Ogus, Ecuador Ecotour Participant

Please read on to see the fantastic photos and stories from our time in Ecuador. We hope to see you on the 2018 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour!

Suchipakari | Anaconda Lodge | Mindo | El Crater | Papallacta | Teleferico | Villa Da Fiore | Amphibians of Ecuador 

Ecotour, Ecuador

Suchipakari

Our first destination in Ecuador... The Suchipakari Jungle Lodge deep in the Amazon Basin!

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Canoe is one of the best ways to travel in the Amazon!

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Our group learned about medicinal plants of the rainforest.

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We went swimming in the beautiful rivers and hiked up waterfalls!

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What a bug! At night we observed these interesting insects called Pterodictya reticularis. These are females, which have long tails that exude a wax that coats their eggs, protecting them from rain and parasitoids. So cool!

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Of course we found frogs as well!

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Recognize this frog? Recently scientists discovered that the South American polka dot tree frog (Hypsiboas punctatus) glows under UV light! An amazing amphibian!

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Poison frogs. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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A beautiful monkey frog. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Our first salamander! Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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This walking stick was an impressive find!

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This terrestrial leech was beautiful!

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Snake! We found a snail-eating snake, a timid species that lives in the forest vegetation.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

"This place was wonderful. They had the best food, were very thoughtful with how they gave tours, and seemed out of all the places, like they cared the most. They worked really hard to make sure everything was that much better. I also loved their location; we did not have to walk far at all to see so many cool things...the wilderness was right there. I think it was the perfect place to start the trip." - Haleigh Bush, Ecuador Ecotour Participant

Anaconda Lodge

Our second destination in the Amazon, Anaconda Lodge!

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Amazing food for our group at Anaconda Lodge! Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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While we did not see any anacondas, we saw many other incredible wildlife species that call the Amazon home. Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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Including a lot of caiman!

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A beautiful yellow-tailed cribo (Drymarchon corais) from the Amazon.

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By boat we observed three species of monkeys. These are wooly monkeys.

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These are Hoatzin, an amazing bird species that lives in the Amazon. Prehistoric! Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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Our group trekked through the rainforest to some incredibly views.

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Overlooking Río Napo.

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“I just wanted to thank you for the great ecotour in Ecuador. I went with my daughter, and we both had the time of our lives. There were non-stop activities and interesting things to do. We loved going out at night to see the frogs and other critters. I wanted to especially express our appreciation for the leadership of Chelsea and Michael. They kept everything going in a seamless way. I can’t believe how well Chelsea managed the logistics of the whole tour.”
- Jenifer Steele, Ecuador Ecotour Participant

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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We learned about Quechua culture, an indigenous group that lives in the Amazon.

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Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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While in the Amazon, it poured! However, lots of rain means lots of caecilians!

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These limbless amphibians are fascinating! We found these four individuals on the forest floor, took a few photos and released them back out into the wild.

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This was a rare opportunity to observe these Amazing Amphibians! Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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Photo by Humberto Castillo of Anaconda Lodge.

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A troop of squirrel monkeys followed us through the forest. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Amazing sunsets at Anaconda Lodge. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Our group learned how to photograph amphibians by professional wildlife photographer Jaime Culebras!

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Anaconda Lodge was very special and we will be back again!

Mindo Cloud Forest

To the cloud forest at Casa Davina in Mindo!

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Our group discussing amphibian ecology and conservation.

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Glass frog. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

"A nice balance of rustic comfort, nature and frogs, good food, great guides and were supporting 'responsible tourism.' They were all really great though. Casa Davina just felt like a place I could stay forever and write poems in between jungle walks." - Stephanie Steelman, Ecuador Ecotour Participant

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SAVE THE FROGS! Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Epic waterfalls in Mindo! Photo by Stephanie Steelman.

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Our group prepares to zip line! Photo by Efrain, Casa Divina Lodge.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Ready to find some frogs?

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On one night, our group hiked up a rainforest stream to search for amphibians. We found 6 to 7 species and even eggs! This egg mass most likely comes from glass frogs. Can you see the developing tadpoles?

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The emerald glass frog (Espadarana prosoblepon). The frogs of Ecuador are truly amazing.

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Papallacta

High in the Andes, our group explored the cloud forests of Papallacta.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.


El Crater

For one night, our group stayed at El Crater. This region provided us with scenic views and a relaxing stay.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.


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Beautiful hikes in El Crater. Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Where South meets North! Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.


Teleferico

Above Quito, our group experienced the Teleferico! A majestic climb into the mountains above Ecuador's largest city!

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.

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Photo by Katie O'Donnell.


Villa Da Fiore


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Amphibians of Ecuador

Here are the amazing amphibians we observed or heard during the 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour to Ecuador:

Salamanders
Bolitoglossa cf. peruviana
Bolitoglossa cf. equatoriana
Bolitoglossa cf. palmata

Caecilians
Caecilia tentaculata
Caecilia sp.

Frogs and Toads
Rhinella margaritifera
Rhinella marina
Teratohyla midas
Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni (sound)
Pastures Rainfrog (Pristimantis achatinus)
Pristimantis altamnis
Pristimantis aureolineatus
Spring Rainfrog (Pristimantis crenunguis)
Yellow-groined Rainfrog (Pristimantis luteolateralis)
Ameerega bilinguis
Ameerega hahneli
Ameerega parvula
Ranitomeya variabilis
Darwin Wallace Poison Frog (Epipedobates darwinwallacei)
GaStrotheca pseustes (sound)
Boana boans
Boana lanciformis
Boana punctata
Dendropsophus bifurcus
Dendropsophus brevifrons
Executioner Clownfrog (Dendropsophus carnifex)
Dendropsophus marmoratus
Dendropsophus parviceps
Dendropsophus reticulatus
Dendropsophus rhodopeplus
Emerald Glassfrog (Espadarana prosoblepon)
Babbling Torenteer (Hyloscirtus alytolylax)
Palm Treefrog (Hypsiboas pellucens)
Nictymantis rugiceps (sound)
Osteocephalus fuscifacies (sound)
Phyllomedusa vaillanti
Leptodactylys mystaceus
Leptodactylus pentadactylus
Leptodactylus wagneri
Lithodytes lineatus
Adenomera andreae
Adenomera hylaedactyla

 

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